Beautiful China

On March 18, 2013, in China Attractions, Cool Places, Must-sees, Nature Scenery, by Sandy Li

More and more people are attracted to travel in China, a mysterious Asian country with over 5,000 years history. According to statistics, there are 57.72 million inbound visitors who spent at least overnight last year. China is a beautiful country, with plenty of tourist resources. Grap the pretty season and take China flights to explore […]

More and more people are attracted to travel in China, a mysterious Asian country with over 5,000 years history. According to statistics, there are 57.72 million inbound visitors who spent at least overnight last year.

China is a beautiful country, with plenty of tourist resources. Grap the pretty season and take China flights to explore the beauty of  China.

In general, sightseeings in China can be divided into four parts, the northern part of China, south regions of the Yongtze River, the southern part of China, and Tibet and Xinjiang. You will enjoy various China tours when you start your trips in China.

The northern part of China is often described as crude and masculine. Architectures and scenery there are of exclusively features. In Harbin, there is Ice Engraving Festival every year. Visitors would see themselves in a palace made of ice. To people who is fond of Kongfu, Henan Province shall be a great place to go. Shaolin Monastery is ranked the first Buddhist temple in China, with thick Kongfu atmosphere attracting visitors both domestic and exotic. Beijing, the capital of China, also the ancient capital of two dynasties lasting about 600 years (since 1421), reserves lots of historical sites. Standing in front of those ancient parks, temples and architectures, you would be impressed by the wisdom of people in the past.

Since we compare the nothern part of China as a masculine, then the southern regions of the Yangtze River must be a beautiful and soft girl. Suzhou and Hangzhou are said to be the paradise in real life. Plenty of beautiful and touching fairy tales are originated here. You can relax yourself under the oiled paper umbrella, along the cobble-clear river, and smelling the flowers’ fragrance. Architecture in Anhui Province has its own style, in which you may find the harmony between human and the nature.

The scenery in the region of the Three Gorges is still too great to be neglected. The sublime dam itself is a place worth to visit, not to mention those ecological parks there.

 

The third part of Beautiful China is the southern part of China. Warm in all seasons, flowers are seen everywhere. Yunnan is a place said to be the arcadia for lovers. You may wanna stay there for a couple of days with your love, with nothing to disturb you.

Lijiang and Dali are particularly beautiful and tranquil. Each year, painters, photographers, and bands would go there to find inspiration.

 

The fourth part of Beautiful China is Tibet and Xinjiang, regions with thick atmosphere of religion. You may have a glimpse of the glamourous Potala Palace, but do pay attention to the altitude reaction. The Mountain of Flames, ancient city cites, and Heaven Lake of Tianshan Mount are only instances among numerous places we strongly commend you to go. People who have ever been there are all impressed by the gorgeous and splendid scenery, as well as the special local customs. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Beautiful China is always a nice option for tourism and vacation. No matter which part of China you are interested in, there will always be surprises for you during your activities.

East and West, Guilin is the Best

On February 26, 2013, in China Attractions, Must-sees, Nature Scenery, by Sandy Li

Have you ever been to Guilin? If not, please find your China flights to experience its charm. Guilin’s unique topography had left a deep impression on many people who had visited Guilin, so how about you? I am sure that once visiting this charming city, you would find that there is so many surprises waiting for you […]

Have you ever been to Guilin? If not, please find your China flights to experience its charm. Guilin’s unique topography had left a deep impression on many people who had visited Guilin, so how about you? I am sure that once visiting this charming city, you would find that there is so many surprises waiting for you to discover on your Chian tour.

Guilin is regarded as the most picturesque city in China. Two crystal-clear rivers, Lijiang River and Peach Blossom River, meander through the city, which are encircled by hills. The two rivers are likened to be green silk ribbons, while the dramatic hills seem like emerald hair-pins.

So the rich nature resources have long been taken as the inspiration for artists and painters. And innumerous inscriptions and poems eulogized its beauty in the history of China. No wonder that it is widely spreaded that “east and west, Guilin landscape is best”.

Then, what to say in Guilin? Well, the classical attractions include the “Three Hills, Two Caves and One River”, which refers to Diecai Hill, Fubo Hill and Elephant Trunk Hill, Reed Flute Cave and Seven-Star Cave, and the world-renowned Li River. Whether you would like to take a relaxing vacation or plan to have a wonderful sightseeing, you will be exceptionally surprised by what Guilin has to offer.

 

For those who love delicious foods, it is also a paradise! The most popular local snacks include the rice noodles (mifen), nun noodles, chestnut glutinous rice dumplings (banli zong), stewed duck with gingko, lotus-leaf duck and stewed duck with ginger. Especially, Guilin rice noodles have long enjoyed fame. The rice noodles are round, thin and flexible, the soup fresh and fragrant and the meat very tasty.

 

As for its weather, it is really pleasant to go in sping! Guilin sits in a subtropical monsoon zone with a warm and moist climate, which is moderate all year round. The average temperature all year round is 19°C(66F) and the best time to travel here is between April and October.

You could hardly wait to have a visit? Don’t worry about the trouble to get there. Actually, Guilin is a well-developed tourist city with convenient transportation facilities. You can enter the city by air, train, long-distance bus or ship and get around the city by bus, taxi or bicycle.

As a tourism city, Guilin has many hotels, including more than 30 five-star hotels, 100 four-star hotels, and 200 three-star hotels, which can satisfy your varified needs. For those who have a limited budget, hostels are good choices. They are quite economical and convenient, which are especially suitable for backpackers. Hostels provide simple but basic facilities at a budget price. Besides, Holiday Villages & Houses are widely available here. Most of these are well-equipped and located near tourist attractions in Guilin’s surrounding areas. Therefore they are the perfect place for leisure and sightseeing.

Travelers can take advantage of affordable deals by making good plans before you go. You can find comprehensive informations with China Travel Depot. Enjoy it and surely you’ll never regret every single moment.

Free Tour Award of Chinatraveldepot – Beijing Hutongs and 798 Art Zone Tour

On January 23, 2013, in Beijing, China Attractions, China Travel Gossip, Temples, by Sandy Li

This quarter’s Beijing Free Tour contest has just finished. The lucky winner, out of over one thousand candidates, can choose his company, and visit 798 ArtZone, Hutong, and DrumTower, along with the HouhaiLake. All expenses are borne by Chinatraveldepot. By convention, this tour shall berecorded by a professional photographer, appointed by China Travel Depot. We […]

This quarter’s Beijing Free Tour contest has just finished. The lucky winner, out of over one thousand candidates, can choose his company, and visit 798 ArtZone, Hutong, and DrumTower, along with the HouhaiLake. All expenses are borne by Chinatraveldepot. By convention, this tour shall berecorded by a professional photographer, appointed by China Travel Depot. We would like to help them preserve this uncommon experience, and share it with others. On Nov. 31st, the contest was brought to a closure and we had our lucky guy, Fida Rehman. Mr. Rehman and his friend would benefit from this wonderful Beijing tour.

On the morning of January 12th, 2013, Rehman and his friend started the tour by visiting our first stop, 798ArtZone. 798ArtZone, located in the northeast of centralBeijing, is always compared with Greenwich Village and SOHO inNew York. History and reality, industry and the arts perfectly fit here. Also known as 798ArtDistrict, it is a new rising, avant-garde and trendy space that hosts high-level cultural, artistic and commercial activities. Rehman and his friend had a good time appreciating mottled red-brick wall, scattered orderly industrial plants, crisscross pipelines, slogans of different ages on the wall.

At noon they came to a hutong around Houhai. They were highly impressed by the traditional Chinese architecture and the pace of life in hutongs. People here are much more leisure than those onBeijing’s broad modern avenues, and the neighbourhood here is quiet and relaxing. The narrowness of the alleyways and of many courtyard homes discourages heavy traffic but encourages residents to live their lives on the street, fostering a strong sense of community. It is common to see the residents playing cards, Chinese chess, Mahjong, or simply chatting with each other. The hutongs are like village within the megalopolis. As wandering among, they were surprised as though stepped into the past. There they had their lunch, and were not disappointed by the Chinese cuisine.

Visitors who have interest may experience Rickshaw Drive through the zigzag Hutongs near Houhai Lake. Once in ancient China, people took rickshaws like taxis.  Sitting on it you could have a rest, but still having a pleasant view of the beautiful scenery.

Before we called it a day, they also dropped by theDrumTower. It was built in 1420, on a 4-meter high base and is over 46-meter high. Not far from it, there standsBellTower. The twin towers together worked to tell people the time in the past days. Rehman said he was devastated by the size of the drum. No one could imagine how ancient people can make such a huge drum, and installed it. About 600 years passed, the drum is still safe and sound, telling time every single day.

In the end of the day, Rehman and his friend expressed their sincere gratitude to us. They had a wonderful day, getting a better understanding with Beijing local culture. We also hope more and more people can have a chance to join us on your China tours.Beijingwelcomes you!

A Romantic Honeymoon of Swiss Groom and Chinese Bride in Xinjiang and Tibet

On January 9, 2013, in Adventure Trip, Cultural Experience, Historical Relics, Must-sees, Temples, by Sandy Li

On August 15th, 2012, Urumchi (the capital city of Xinjiang Province) witnessed a transnational wedding. The groom, Fares Abdullah comes from Switzerland, and the bride Li Miao comes from China. More and more people would choose to take China flihgts and have a wedding tour, which can be customised by the travel agency. Fares sent mails to […]

On August 15th, 2012, Urumchi (the capital city of Xinjiang Province) witnessed a transnational wedding. The groom, Fares Abdullah comes from Switzerland, and the bride Li Miao comes from China.

More and more people would choose to take China flihgts and have a wedding tour, which can be customised by the travel agency. Fares sent mails to us expressing his wish to spend their honeymoon by a Silk Road tour, or along Kashgar, Turpan, Kanas and finally to Lhasa in Tibet. There, during this China tour, in Urumchi the couple wishes to have a special wedding. 25 guests were invited to join their romantic honeymoon travel. They were his family members or friends, from Switzerland, Germany, Palestine, US and UK.

Though the local government in Tibet strengthened the restriction on inbound tourists, we successfully helped them with all required documents. They had a wonderful time in China.

 On August 5th, all the visitors took their flight to Urumqi on their own, and were picked up at the airport by the guide. After one-day rest in the hotel, we flew to Kashgar on August 6th. All people were impressed by the scenery in Dawakun desert, Kashgar. In the morning of the third day, we took the car for 3.5 hours (200 kilometers) to the Karakuri Lake, which is located 3,600 meters above sea level. Surrounded by snow mountains to the east of the Pamirs, this lake offers local herds with fertile grassland and travelers with extraordinary charming scenery. Visitors could also see the yurts, camels and horses of the Tajik people inhabiting here.

On August 8th, we had a Kashgar city tour. Firstly we visited the famous Id Kah Mosque located in the city center. On August 9th, we went to visit Turpan. Where we had our time in Jiaohe Ruins, Karez Well.

August 15th, 2012 was a wonderful day. The couple had their wedding ceremony. They were blessed by everyone. Many Occidental men found their true love in China, this mysterious Asian country. They choose to hold the wedding in China, and have a better understanding of this region. Their Chinese wives could also be a nice guide to introduce Chinese culture and tradition to them. It is a very romantic journey. For many Chinese girls, planning a honeymoon trip in China is a nice gift their foreign husband can give, showing their love and respect.

The next day after the wedding, all the visitors flew to Xining from Urumqi. They came to the Jokhang Temple, the splendid Potala PalaceTibet Museum, Norbulingka Park, and many interesting places in Tibet.

On August 19th, all people were transferred to Lhasa airport and took the flight to Beijing. By then the happy couple had their unforgettable and romantic honeymoon travel. This is a happy beginning for the life of this lucky couple.

All guests who participate in this wedding trip feel incredible about beautiful scenery and holy religious atmosphere in Tibet. For some of them, this is the first time to go to China. We are also happy to help people all over the world to know better about China. In the end, we give our best wishes to this couple. We wish them good health, and happy forever!

 

The Great Wall.

On July 18, 2012, in Adventure Trip, China Attractions, Great Wall, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

During your travel to China you can do lots of thing, depending on where you are and what are your interests, but there is one thing that you cannot avoid. The greatest construction of all time, the only thing human made that can be seen from the moon: The Great Wall. It’s not that you […]

During your travel to China you can do lots of thing, depending on where you are and what are your interests, but there is one thing that you cannot avoid. The greatest construction of all time, the only thing human made that can be seen from the moon: The Great Wall. It’s not that you should include it in your china trip, is that you MUST.

The Great Wall is a gigantic construction that is believed to be 21,196 kilometers long (including the branches and the natural barriers that the ancient Chinese had included in the wall) and it extends from Shanhaiguan in the east to Lop Lake in the west, roughly following the form of Mongolia.

It’s believed to be started the 800 B.C, but it was reinforced and rebuilt the 221 B.C by Qin Shi Huang from the Qin dynasty, to protect their territory from the enemy, some sources said that up to one million workers died constructing this part.

Later in the 14th century, in the beginning of the Ming era, and following its defeat by the Mongolian, the emperor decided to reconstruct the wall and reinforce it, it was made of bricks instead of rammed earth and a large quantity of watchtowers (it’s believed that more than 25,000) were built to ensure the security of Ming’s dynasty’s land and to stop enemies from entering in their territory.

Now the Wall is mostly in ruins because it’s impossible to maintain it for it is very large, but you can still visit some parts, mostly reconstructed and adapted for tourism.

One of the best parts to go if you want to combine the visit and a little bit of adventure is in the south-east of Jinshanling, at 2h by car from Beijing; it’s called the Mutianyu Great Wall and it’s a 3 kilometers completely restored part.

In this part of the wall you can go up either by walking or in what they call “cable car” but it’s really a two seats chairlift, there you can ascend to the top of the mountain and also to the top of the wall when you can walk along until you reach one of the watchtowers that had been restored, it is very hot and the stairs are uneven so be prepared, also bring your own food because the prizes there are unbelievingly high.

Going down is another adventure, you can go down in the same “cable car” or you can slide down in the “toboggan”. This is the best thing you can do because it’s not just a funny way to go down the Great Wall; it’s also beautiful because you slide between the trees and the nature.

The Great Wall is a great place to go, so if you are travelling to China make sure that you make time to go in a one-day excursion to the Great Wall and you can see with your own eyes the magnificence of the most important of all the Chinese constructions.

Enchantment at Yunju Temple

On July 16, 2012, in Beijing, Cultural Experience, Must-sees, Temples, by Jack Li

Picture an entirely Chinese tour group, a Chinese tour guide, and me, one lone American girl traveling 70 km outside of Beijing to reach the stunning Yunju temple. I had no idea what the day would hold for me, I just knew there would be a chance I might be taken out of the usual […]

Picture an entirely Chinese tour group, a Chinese tour guide, and me, one lone American girl traveling 70 km outside of Beijing to reach the stunning Yunju temple. I had no idea what the day would hold for me, I just knew there would be a chance I might be taken out of the usual elements of my comfort zone. Fortunately, in that department, I was not disappointed! I do not have much China travel experience. Thus, when I decided to travel to Beijing I was seeking sights that offer a true portrait of Chinese culture. The tour of Yunju began with the retelling of its stone scripture history. This site is where the actual making of the first stone scripture tablet took place. The decision to carve on stone was to ensure its preservation because at the time there was conflict between the differing religious sectors. The scriptures include important texts known as the Tripitaka in various versions. To date, the Yunju temple houses over 14,000 stone scripture tablets! The tablets hold an extreme amount of religious, spiritual, intellectual and educational value. The multitude of tablets this temple houses makes Yunju temple a shrine to Buddhist culture. I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I was in the presence of a literary history with insurmountable important, not unlike the Rosetta Stone or Code of Hammurabi.

As I made my way through the temple grounds, my eyes feasted upon the nearly two-story bronze vessels, centuries old brick pagodas, and larger than life Buddhist deity statues. My tour then took a turn for the unexpected as I was handed a brown robe and told to put it on and make our way into the temple. I knew this wasn’t an average sightseeing stop for Beijing travel and enjoyed the feeling I was experiencing something unique. There I and my fellow Chinese travelers took part in a Buddhist ritual, involving incense sticks and the entrancing singing of monks. The women and men lined up on separate sides of the room and then repeatedly knelt down for prayer. I knew this was a once and a lifetime experience for me. The centerpiece of the room was a large golden Buddha who sat in front of a table adorned with flowers. Even though I am not a Buddhist, the strong spiritual connections being made within the room were so profound it made an cherished impression on me, adding much to my appreciation for Chinese culture. This Beijing tour should be made an essential addition to your trip. The day spent at Yunju is one I will never forget, and a definite favorite of the time I’ve spent in Beijing.

An Underground Adventure

On January 13, 2012, in Beijing, Cultural Experience, Getting Around, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

Beijing is a very busy city; it is one of the few cities that never sleep. Therefore no matter what time of day it is, there is always traffic. In your travels within Beijing the best way to get around is via the subway lines, you can also organise and take the train from the […]

Beijing is a very busy city; it is one of the few cities that never sleep. Therefore no matter what time of day it is, there is always traffic. In your travels within Beijing the best way to get around is via the subway lines, you can also organise and take the train from the airport when your China flight has arrived. If you need to get somewhere in a certain time avoid taking a taxi or bus and go underground to experience the subway. However the subways are always hectic as well, so this will outline what to expect and how to survive your subway adventure whilst having a great time touring Beijing.

 

Firstly forget your personal space, in the subways they do not exist at all and they are long gone. Being pushed and squeezed on to the train is always an eventful experience, just try not to get your jacket caught in the door or end up missing a shoe. It feels as though everyone is late for something important so everyone wants to get on this one particular train, so the race is on. However words of advice do not get angry or upset if you do get pushed into the train or that you are underneath someone’s arm pit, it will get you nowhere further in your travels and you are not a victim in this ordeal. Secondly do not hesitate at all, if your mission is to get on that train, go straight for it. Because if you hesitate for a slight second you will never get to your destination and people behind you will go straight pass you. But don’t fret to much, trains come every couple of minutes. So put your game face on and do it how the locals do it.

 

 

The best way to surviveyour trip is to know where you are going before you get on the train. There are many maps throughout the stations as well as online, so study your route before you head to the subway. The reason being is because no one is going to wait for you to work out where you need to go and which station you need to get off at. Everyone prepares themselves to get off the train the stop before and if you are not ready you will get charged at by the people wanting to get on the train. If you do plan your trip and familiarise yourself with the station names and exits, no matter how crazy busy the subway is your trip will be successful and will run smoothly. Within majority of the trains there are maps on top of the door highlighting which stations have already been passed and which is coming up next, so you cannot get lost.


All the major tourist destinations within Beijing are next to or a short walk from a subway station. Therefore the subway is the most desirable transportation to go with. You will usually find that the maps and the voice overs on the train will say which stop to get off in order to go to the attraction. The major shopping markets are near subway stations, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City is right above a subway station and majority of museums and galleries are a short distance from the subways.

Even though the subway sounds very hectic, which it can be, it is the most efficient, quickest and cheapest (2RMB per trip) way to travel around in Beijing. Also you cannot go to Beijing and not experience the subway, just do it with a positive attitude and have a laugh when you get shoved in or out of a train. It is its own little adventure in itself and is a must do in your tour of China.

Why Sichuan is a Vital Ingredient for any China Tour

On December 30, 2011, in Must-sees, Restaurants & Food, Sichuan, by Jack Li

Chengdu the capital of Sichuan is easily accessible form a wide array of domestic and international destinations; there are numerous Chengdu Flights which arrive daily to its impressively large airport visit China Flights for more details. Moreover if you have the time and the desire for an authentic ride amongst locals and other domestic travellers, […]

Chengdu the capital of Sichuan is easily accessible form a wide array of domestic and international destinations; there are numerous Chengdu Flights which arrive daily to its impressively large airport visit China Flights for more details. Moreover if you have the time and the desire for an authentic ride amongst locals and other domestic travellers, then China’s extensive rail network and bus tours are easily manageable. China’s train and bus schedules are fairly regular which connect this bustling city to the rest of the country.  Sichuan cuisine is famous for its delicious bold flavors’ and aromas which will have you yearning for assortment of spicy food including the well-known local Hotpot dishes (火锅; Huoguo) or Kung Pao Chicken (宮保雞丁).

 

With a mild climate year round, there is always much to see and do whether it be exploring Chengdu’s 2000 year old history, leisurely taking in the local sights and shops, or traveling further out to visit the Panda sanctuary, the biggest Buddha in the world or Jiuzhaigou Nature Park.  Since the disastrous earthquake on May 12, 2008 in Wenchuan County, a large number of Pandas living in Wolong National Natural Reserve became homeless and had to be relocated. The new Panda reserve Bifeng Gorge is located in Ya’an City which is one hour’s traveling from Chengdu. The Panda reserve offers a wide assortment of information on the specialized breeding programs within the picturesque park. It is an enjoyable day trip for those wishing to learn more about the gentle giants, the breeding programs or simply relax and enjoy the sightseeing.

 

Continuing north is the scenic town of Leshan, home of the world’s largest stone Buddha.  The Buddha casts a striking pose carved into the side of a mountain at the convergence of three rivers, known as the Min River, Qingyi River, and Dadu River. Those visiting Leshan will be mesmerized by the sheer size and history of this famous landmark.  The best time of year to explore the northern parts of Sichuan and the incredible Min mountain range and Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve is in autumn. Arriving before the cold frozen winter weather allows you to experience the wide assortment crystalline lakes and rivers which are surrounded by an abundance of bright colors and astonishing beauty.  The history of Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve has been greatly influenced by local minorities and is entwined with legends and myths which cast a mystical atmosphere over the picturesque park.

 

When you begin your China Travel trip to Sichuan be prepared for a laid back leisurely atmosphere and amazing culinary experiences. Moreover be prepared to become trigger happy with your camera, the astonishing abundance of sights available ranging from Chengdu’s Panda Reserve, to the great Buddah and Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve will make a happy snapper out of you.

The Largest Royal Park in China- Summer Palace- Yiheyuan

On October 13, 2011, in Beijing, Summer Palace, by Jack Li

China travels can lead you to great places. These great places will show you created looking gardens, corridors, towers and pavilions that date back 1,000 or more years ago. China will also show you very old structures that Emperors and Empress used to reside in. One of these great places is the Summer Palace. So […]

China travels can lead you to great places. These great places will show you created looking gardens, corridors, towers and pavilions that date back 1,000 or more years ago. China will also show you very old structures that Emperors and Empress used to reside in. One of these great places is the Summer Palace. So after you check into your China Hotel make sure you plan on seeing Beijing Summer Palace.

Some of the Summer Palace Attractions include the Court Area, Front-Hill Area, Lake Area and the Rear-Hill area. Did you know that the Summer Palace is the largest and most well-preserved royal park in China. It has the most famous natural views. Chinese horticulture and landscape were greatly influenced by the Summer Palace. Another name of the Summer Palace is the “The Museum of Royal Gardens”.

History Lesson-

In 1750 construction on the Summer Palace started. It was created so that the royal families had a place to rest. Then in the Qing dynasty it became the royal residences.  Later on the Anglo-French allied force destroyed it by fire.  It was reconstructed in 1888. It is said that Empress Dowager Cixi used the Summer Palace to embezzle navy funds to reconstruct it into a resort, so she would be able to spend her life there. Sadly in 1900 the Summer Palace was attacked again, by the Eight-Power Allied Force. It only took China two years to recreate the Summer Palace.

The Summer Palace of today-

The Summer Palace occupies an area of 742.8 acres.  When you travel there you can see over 3,000 man made ancient structures, each one is remarkable. These structures include corridors, pavilions, towers and bridges. Empress Dowager Cixi and Emperor Guangzu used the Court Area to meet with officials and conducted states affairs. The Court Area was broken into two sections one for the court affairs and the other one for living. The Court Area is the first stop for visitors to enjoy the view of Kunming Lake.

The most outstanding area is the Front-Hill Area, since it has delicate buildings and excellent gardens. While you are in this area you can walk up the hilltop and see important building for example Hall of Sea Wisdom, Revolving Archives. The Largest part of the Summer Palace is the Lake Area. Its open ups to Kunming Lake, you can also see Houxi River. When you walk though this area you will walk by pavilions, wharfs and over bridges. There are some famous attractions some include the Seventeen-Arch Bridge and Bronze Ox. The best part of being in the Lake Area is seeing the waves gleam, and the beautiful colors.

The Rear Area is the last area in the Summer Palace. This area is very quiet compared to the other areas. One of the reasons is that some of the constructions were never repaired after the attacks. So when you are walking around you should notice the ruins. So while you are strolling around take your time to feel peaceful and tranquility that the Summer Palace as to offer.

So after you book your Beijing Flight make sure you plan on seeing the Summer Palace. It will cost 60RMBs to get in. The best way to get there is by taking the subway. Make sure you are on line 4 and get off at Beigongmen Station, or you could get off at Xiyuan Station, if you take this way take exit C2 then walk west.

A Short First Timers Guide to Trains in China

On September 20, 2011, in China Travel Gossip, Tips & Ideas, Travel Info, by Jack Li

During your China travel adventure, You may consider venturing out on the train for an interesting cultural experience, a day trip to somewhere new or simply as a method of transport from point A to B. Less hassle than catching a flight or taking a bus, the trains in China cover most of the important […]

During your China travel adventure, You may consider venturing out on the train for an interesting cultural experience, a day trip to somewhere new or simply as a method of transport from point A to B. Less hassle than catching a flight or taking a bus, the trains in China cover most of the important tourist destinations alongside local areas so you can travel to Xian, Shanghai, Guilin, Tibet, Guangzhou and more depending on your itinerary.

 

Train Categories in China

Trains in China have multiple categories, distinguished by a letter (this precedes a number which corresponds to the route). ‘K’ and ‘T’ are the oldest and therefore slowest train types, with the middle category being the ‘Z’ train. Trains starting with a  ‘C’, ‘D’ or ‘G’ are the newest and fastest trains, usually with the highest prices, although this is worthwhile if you are short of time and far from the price you would pay for the same distance in a western country.

 

Seat and Sleeper Classes in China

There are a variety of seat and sleeper classes on Chinese trains, however some are restricted to certain trains, for example long distance or popular routes. The types available are: Soft Sleeper, Hard Sleeper, Soft Seat, Hard Seat and the less often seen Deluxe Sleeper.

Soft sleeper is a 4 bed compartment with a lockable door, car attendant and occasionally, TV screens and power supplies. This is the most popular category for western tourists and nicely fits a family of four. The two lower bunks convert into sofa’s for daytime use. Hard sleeper is an open plan 6 bed partition and has no lockable door. These berths are popular with the backpacker crowd and travellers with a lower budget.

Soft and hard seats are similar to those on western trains, soft is slightly larger and more padded being equivalent to first class back home, whilst second class are cheaper and adequate, like standard train seats in Europe and America.

Deluxe sleepers are usually found on long distance overnight trains and consist of a private 2 bed compartment with private bathroom area. Travellers use these less often, as they are usually equivalent to the cost of a flight and generally occupied by government employees.

Train facilities

All except the oldest ‘K’ and ‘T’ trains are fully air conditioned and generally have both western and squat toilets available. Toilet paper is very rarely supplied so be prepared to bring your own supply for the journey. Smoking is only permitted outside of sleeping compartments and aisles, however the newer model trains have a non-smoking rule.

All long distance trains and those running a popular route have restaurants on board. They are housed in a restaurant car and those heading to or from major tourist orientated towns and cities will likely have an English menu. There are snacks, drinks and hot meals available. In addition to this there are usually hot water dispensers situated throughout the train should you wish to make your own hot drinks, soup or pot noodles.

 

Booking and Purchasing Tickets

You can purchase tickets prior to your arrival in China or through an agent, this is a stress free easier method especially if you don’t have a very flexible itinerary, however there will be an added fee for the convenience.

It is simple enough to book tickets yourself and large cities generally have an English speaking booth available. Tickets for the popular high speed trains usually come on sale up to 20 days before departure however the older and less used trains often leave it until 5 to 10 days before. It is recommended to take your passport as for certain routes and trains it needs to be presented in order for you to book a ticket. Another point to be aware of is you are only able to book a journey departing from the station you are at, so you cannot book a journey from Beijing to Xian if you are at Shanghai Central Station.

A recommended website for train travel throughout China (and other cities) with all other vital information including photographs is Seat 61. You can also book many train journeys within China online at China Travel Depot.

 

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